I like a good hard-luck tale when it comes to fantasy football. Much like how sad old country songs (remember those?) make you feel better because the singer has it so much worse than you do, there’s nothing more heart-warming than hearing about someone basically throwing away a handful of money by making a boneheaded move come playoff time.
One of my favorite fantasy football “consultants” presented me his particular tale of woe Tuesday afternoon. Let me start by saying there are some quality stakes in his league (as I like to put it WAY too rich for my blood). There are also some pretty daunting rules, mainly, you don’t have a bench. If your player is listed as Doubtful or Out you can get an injury exemption and can pick up a replacement for the week without losing your starter. BUT, if the player is listed as Questionable, you have to either, roll the dice and hope he plays or drop your player and pick up a replacement (leaving that player on the following week’s waiver wire for anyone to pick up). Pretty frightening, especially when you consider the stakes.
So my friend had two players listed as Questionable last week: Julius Thomas and Rashad Jennings. Those are two huge must start players when they are healthy. But that “Q” loomed like the Scarlet Letter or being classified as “bro-country,” come Sunday morning when he was checking his line-up and getting up-to-date news reports online. Both were listed as active which is a good sign. My friend knew that Jennings would likely only be a bit player, but he figured that the rest of his team (especially with Thomas playing) would be able to pick up the slack and get the job done against a weaker opponent.
What happened next, well? Not even George Jones could have told a sadder tale (about fantasy football). One of his two starting quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger put up a stinker against the Giants (125 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception). Jennings wasn’t particularly active as he got 2 carries for 5 yards. Mind you, my friend sort of expected as much from Jennings, Mettenberger, not so much.
But at least he had Thomas playing at 4:30 against the Bills. Right? Wrong. Denver’s coach John Fox felt they didn’t really need Thomas that day (arrogant bastards…says the bitter Bills fan in me) and let him sit that one out. Fox later explained to the Denver Post, “We went with having him active but not (with the) intention of playing him.” That’s some pretty sneaky Bill Belichick stuff going on right there. But all coaches do it. And no, it’s not because they have a disdain for fantasy football (although some do), it’s to do what they are paid to do, and that of course, is to win.
Alas, my friend will be playing for third place this week. In hindsight, he said he should have “been the shark that I am” and dropped Jennings for another back, but he didn’t want to risk losing him in the championship. And that is called putting the cart ahead of the horse. You have to be ruthless if you want to win your league. Do not take unnecessary risks, particularly when it comes to injured players. I’d rather have a healthy backup get me 5-7 points than my stud getting me a goose egg.
Takin’ Bills…The Next King Of The Losers?
As I mentioned last week my Takin’ Bills were knocked out of playoff contention. I did like that I ended the season with four straight wins to get me to 7-7. I don’t like missing the playoffs for the first time in this league’s existence. Now it’s time for the consolation round. Normally I don’t care about the consolation round. Winning that is like saying, “I’m the best of losers.” BUT, when two of the teams in the bracket include one of my good for nothin’ bar friends AND the evil Farce The Music team, I say bring it on! I want to be the king of the losers. It’s my destiny.
On to happier fantasy news: Last week I briefly talked about my “Little Engine That Could” team that started out 0-6, but chugged off 7 straight victories. Well guess what? We won last week and made the playoffs. Will I beat the No. 1 seed? I think I can, I think I can.
That’s it for this week. Good luck to everyone playing in a championship this weekend or in the first round of the playoffs. Drop me a line at @sneezeguard if you’re looking for some last minute advice or validation.